The GOP Needs To Talk About Bush: Part One

A lot of official Republican discourse tries to skate past the failures of the Bush years, but this won’t do.

Published on: April 11, 2013
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  • Hard truths

    I don’t particularly see the problem with what people are calling “neo-isolationism.” We’ve had over fifty years of being top dog on the block, fifty years of being the global fireman, even as our so-called “allies” spend their days divided between backbiting American decisions and freeloading off the peace bought by our blood and treasure.

    Enough is enough, I say! What has Pax American bought Americans but the scorn of the world and national bankruptcy? We have problems of our own to deal with, let the rest of the world go hang. There’s little we can to pull it off the gallows:

    The Middle East is going to burn no matter what we say or do, so we may as well get out of the way of the flames.

    Europe is in terminal decline – they abandoned their religion, debased down their culture, fell prey to the biggest con in the history of economics (the Euro) and have become to decadent that they can’t even be bothered to reproduce in sufficient numbers. We may as well step aside and let them get on with the business of extinction.

    If South America wants to follow Venezuela down the Chavista rabbit hole, who are we to tell them otherwise?

    Let China rule the world if they want it, they’ll hate it as much as we do. We’ve done our part; Uncle Sam is broke, sick and in dire need of a vacation.

    • BrianFrankie

      Very intersting take, and one I have often thought about. It certainly sounds appealing. China ruling the world is a particularly amusing exercise of advance schadenfreude – how long will it be before the rest of the world is back on our doorstep asking us to fill the role we currently do?

      But. The issue is that this is no longer the world of 1913. We could let Europe and the world go up in flames, and millions die, without any permanent destruction to the planet or US national interests. I’m afraid modern technology has rendered this solution unworkable. What happens when multiple countries, no longer counting on US protection, develop nuclear weapons, and biological weapons? Taiwan, and Japan, and SKorea, and Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, and Italy, and Germany, and Australia, and Brazil, and Argentina, and SAfrica, and on and on. And then wars start breaking out. Which countries, willingly or unwillingly, are drawn into the conflicts? Nation states start disintegrating. And then the weapons get used. And plagues and fallout aren’t contained in the areas they are used. Who is going to contain the wars, and the weapons, and the damage? The UN? China?

      The world with an isolationist US is not a pretty one. I’m not even sure it is a survivable one, not even for the country trying to isolate itself.

      I don’t *like* being the world leader, and trying to resolve Irreconcilable conflicts and contain ambitious powers. I don’t like the cost in blood and treasure. The short term costs are very high. But the long term costs in not trying to fill this role may be even higher. Think carefully before assuming all works out better for an isolationist US.

      • China ruling the world? I’m not even sure China can rule China.

        • 5ftflirt

          therefore in trying to rule the world China will do a really bad job and create world problems we cant even think about.

      • Hard truths

        But why does it have to be our job? Where is it written that American blood has to be the coin spent to buy peace for others?

        Anyway, it hardly matters. Things are falling apart all over. Where they are killing each other (as in the Middle East) they’re rotting away from within (as in Europe) We can’t save them, and attempting to do so will only cost us blood and treasure for little return on the investment.

        It is time to survive, to look to our own needs. The Republicans had a ten year long bender on military adventurism and now we’re suffering through the hangover. The Democrats could care less what happens around the world, unless they can use it as an excuse to preen before the cameras with the latest bleeding heart starlet from Hollywood. The American people have had their fill of war. Let the worlds problems be someone else’s to solve. Let them be the recipient of the jealousy of lesser nations.

        • It has to be our job because, as the previous poster laid it out, no other country on the planet is capable of doing it, even if they had the will. With the exception of a future China, that is, and they will never have the will to truly lead the world into an open future. The only way China and Chinese culture could control the world would be through rule and through domination. This sort of control would lead to incessant uprisings all over, and especially inside China as their own people rebelled against the neglect that such a world view would bring on the home front. This is the downside of even ‘benevolent’ socialism and totalitarianism.

          Remember, China thrives today because of a world market being exploited by two main areas in the country – both zones in which they rulers allow free enterprise to grow. If China must police the world, they’ll inevitably have a revolution inside the nation as the peasants see no future for themselves. There is already unrest with Communist Party ideals, particularly among the increasingly connected young people who see communism as stifling their future.

          China is likely to see itself facing more Tiennaman Square type protests under the current system within 10 years (possibly 5). If China cannot focus on managing these and opening their economy and eventually their government up, they’re going to have a real mess. That gives them no leeway to be the cops of the world, even if they wanted to. Which they don’t.

          • Gene_Frenkle

            The Bush family has a long history with China. The Bush family is primarily concerned with promoting American middle class values and lifestyle. They see China as the best place to focus on with regard to increasing standard of living and democracy. Invading Iraq was seen as an easy way to free up the abundant Iraqi resources in order to feed the growing Chinese economy. Bush also wanted to free the Iraqi people and return them their oil wealth that Saddam was frittering away. Bush, like most liberals, was guided by the best of intentions, but good intentions do not always result in positive outcomes. The Iraq War has been negative for our global interests. If the Chinese embrace American values they will most likely be our allies and this will be a huge positive billions of people. What Bush did NOT want was a China dependent on Russian and Iranian resources.

    • John Stephens

      The problem with no-isolationism is the notion that we can just let go of the tiger’s tail without consequences. There’s still teeth on the other end.

    • 5ftflirt

      If there is a power vacuum someone will fill it. You really want China ruling the world? Think about it – do you think they will leave us alone? Waiting till an enemy comes to our shores is too late.

    • Jim Luebke

      Britain’s (and Europe’s) “genteel decline” would have been far darker and steeper without the Pax Americana. Who would cover our decline? The worst wars in history have been caused by rising powers challenging falling ones.

      It is in the best interests of Americans and the world, for America to regenerate the foundations of its military power, by pursuing our economic interests and maintaining our economic freedom and dynamism (yes, even at the expense of the utopian giveaway state.)

      If the GOP could find someone to state this clearly and eloquently, half its problems would be solved.

      • Rand Paul has been doing this quite eloquently for some time. I’m not sure what, if anything, the GOP can do to get over half the country to wake up and see reality. I don’t think any change they make will accomplish this. As stupid as it was to get caught saying it aloud, Romney WAS correct in his comment about the 47 percent. Except for one thing – when it comes right down to it – more than half the nation now want the government to manage/run their lives for them in some way.

        • Jim Luebke

          You do realize that people who wouldn’t vote for the GOP on economic grounds vote for them because of social conservatism or defense, don’t you?

          Those are the three pillars of the Reagan coalition. Romney managed to offend two out of three, there, tossing everyone overboard who wasn’t a net taxpayer. Reaching out to them on the topics they usually vote Republican on would have been a much better move.

    • Fred

      Fine sentiment but I can give you three arguments against it: December 7, 1941; November 4, 1979; and September 11, 2001. If you recall, each of those dates followed a prolonged period of American disarmament and disengagement: Pearl Harbor after the disarming and isolationist movement following WWI, the Iranian hostage crisis after nearly a decade of withdrawal and neglect of our military after Viet Nam, and 9/11 after a decade of attempting to cash in on the “peace dividend” of the end of the Cold War and a withdrawal from international affairs (Remember “It’s the economy, stupid?”). We can try to ignore the world, but it won’t ignore us.

  • Anthony

    You write a very insightful and poignant essay WRM (outlining broadly concern for strong national security policy underscoring global engagement while recognizing 21st century challenges demand clarity of foreign policy objectives from both established U.S. political parties). “It is partly about judgment and need for a rich discourse among competing schools of thought and vision.”
    First steps begin with first step (lesson learned). As essay mentions, going back to good old days is not a solution for American foreign policy challenges going forward. The Republican party must ask: what foreign policy options best capture emerging new great power systems, international connectedness of capitalism, and reality of multi-polar regional power actors. These issues and others certainly need to be examined within context of GWB’s impact on public perception of Republican foreign policy orientation.
    Thanks for the push to reflect as we go forward nationally. Also, I concur that without a resurgence the United States will have a much tougher 21st century.

  • JD

    I think our status abroad has deteriorated since Bush because of a lack of interest, focus, and competence in the current administration. What if Bush had been succeeded by an administration adept at foreign policy? Perhaps Bush wouldn’t look so bad right now.

    • More to the point, perhaps America wouldn’t look so inept and weak right now. That was my main reason for voting for McCain. It was more a vote against what I knew Obama to be than any real faith in McCain as a leader on domestic issues. I don’t really care all that much about the President leading on most domestic issues anyway (not including those related to national security), except to keep the Democrats from intruding even further on the Constitution. The best thing the government can do about the economy is stay the flock out of it.

  • Happycrow

    Oddly enough, I seem to part ways with pretty much everybody: the Iraq War was about the only thing I thought he got right (aside from having an obvious spring of fundamental decency, which is rare and laudable in a politician), and was groaning when nearly the first act of his Presidency was to increase steel tariffs.

    The Bush administrations were characterized by a rise in social conservatism tied to fiscal liberalism, a sort of right-wing progressivism I found much at odds with the goldwater/reagan republicanism which I am able to support. If contemporary Republicans want to double down on that, they have the right to do so — whether they can afford to lose 6-7% of the electorate by throwing votes like mine away is a secondary question about which I’m no longer much concerned. After the past decade, I’ll happily support whichever party seems to advance liberty on either side of the coin.

    -Russ in TX

    • 5ftflirt

      I agree Iraq was not a failure, but liberals and Bush-bashers sure would like it to be.

    • Gene_Frenkle

      The Iraq War was a strategic debacle. The Iraq War was about oil, and due to the incompetence of the administration Iraq is still an underperformer with regard to oil production. So the 2008 oil price spike was the tip of the iceberg. The Iraq War was supposed to temper the price of oil as China grew, instead the Iraq War contribited to the global savings glut that resulted in the worldwide financial meltdown that persists to this day. What makes the war a “debacle” is the fact that age of oil ended at the beginning of 2008 when fracking was perfected and we found ourselves with a GLUT of natural gas!

      • Marty Keller

        “The Iraq War was about oil.” This persistent leftist canard continues to be bandied about without citing any evidence, an exercise which these comments continue. Oh, and the Chinese will be glad to know that “age of oil” ended five years ago.

        • Gene_Frenkle

          The biggest canard is of course that the Iraq War was about WMD, Wolfowitz stated, “”The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason.” We also know Greenspan made this statement, “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”

          Btw, I see oil as quality of life, relatively cheap oil is hugely important to our way of life and Bush wanted to improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people by removing Saddam and letting the resource flow freely. Bush, like most liberals, had the best of intentions.

          Oh, and don’t let those idiotic liberals fool you about fracking–it is a game changer, and if we play our cards right we can weaken Russia and Iran while strengthening ourselves and the world, because a strong US is the best thing for this world.

          • INTJ

            The Iraq War always was primarily about Saddam’s consistent refusal to submit to the terms of the cease-fire he signed in 1991. All he ever had to do to avoid the war was to comply with UN resolutions demanding he provide the evidence he had destroyed his existing WMD’s (chemical weapons that he had already used against innocent civilians) and that he was not creating new ones, but for 12 years, he refused to allow inspections or provide records attesting to either, preferring to make people think he had them. That the existing WMD’s were gone, and the new ones either did not exist or had been removed by the time the war began, is not material. The not knowing was the imminent threat. This war aim, the “mission accomplished,” went very well, although it was not as easy as the DOD had predicted.

            What most people reflexively react to as the issue of the “Iraq War” actually was the post-war occupation of a hostile nation, which had the less clear aim of making it a stable democracy and not a haven for terrorism. This was where most of our blood and treasure was expended, and it took much longer and many more lives than the administration anticipated.

            Nonetheless, I said in 2003 that the worst-case scenario in Iraq, should it prove to no longer have WMD’s, is that the world would be rid of a brutal dictator who denied freedom, tortured and/or killed millions of his own people, had invaded two of his neighbors in a region critical to U.S. vital national interests, and who was tying up valuable resources every year by forcing us to enforce a No-Fly zone and protect civilians, while he occasionally shot at our pilots and soldiers with live ammo. The long-term costs and benefits of the war we will only see in time, but that much, at least, is still true.

          • Gene_Frenkle

            The UN is a worthless organization and their resolutions are worthless. The UN is a tool, and if they will not enforce their resolutions they are worthless. We invaded Iraq because of Iran and Russia. Saddam’s WMD were not a real threat even if he had them…Iraq’s resources pose a real threat to Iran and Russia. However, fracking has made Iraq less important, and that is why it was a strategic error in light of the natural gas glut we found ourselves with starting in 2008.

            The world has changed, and we are in the catbird seat…we would just be better off if we had never invaded that country.

          • Ronald Krol

            Speaking
            on the anniversary of the United States’ invasion of Iraq,
            originally declared as a pre-emptive strike against a
            madman ready to deploy weapons of mass destruction (WMDs),
            the
            man first charged with finding those weapons said that
            the U.S. government has “the same mind
            frame as the witch hunters of the past” — looking
            for evidence to support a foregone conclusion.

            “There were about 700 inspections, and in no case did
            we find weapons of mass destruction,” said
            Hans Blix, the Swedish diplomat called out of retirement to serve as the United
            Nations’ chief weapons inspector from 2000 to 2003; from 1981 to 1997 he headed
            the International Atomic Energy Agency. “We went to sites [in Iraq] given to
            us by intelligence, and only in three cases did we find something” – a stash
            of nuclear documents, some Vulcan boosters, and several empty warheads for
            chemical weapons.

  • george999

    The article would seem much more credible if it included historical examples of where the suggested response happened and most importantly worked or did not work.

    While the article is plausible I’m not sure it’s any more plausible than the idea that people don’t want to hear about past but what are you going to do for them now. Add in the reality that people as a whole seem to have a very short memory and I’m not sure the article is anything but reasonable speculation whipped up out of thin air.

  • Stephen

    No doubt there is an unwillingness to address the foreign policy failures of the Bush administration within the GOP. But where is the evidence for the need, purely as a matter of electoral politics? Foreign policy was barely, if at all, a factor in the last election, and, barring some unforeseen event, won’t be in the next – or in 2016. Domestic policy is likely to loom ever larger in the future, and rightly so; all the more so as events drive those issues. Both parties have noticed and both will respond accordingly.

    • I think you’re previewing the topic of “The GOP Needs to Talk About Bush: Part II.” Unfortunately for the GOP, where Bush’s foreign policy failures were caused by his personal innovations like the “Bush Doctrine,” his domestic policy failures were caused by problems endemic to the Republican Platform itself. The Republican prescription of social conservatism, industrial deregulation, and lower marginal tax rates on the rich is no longer resonating with middle-class voters like it once did, and for good reason: it’s been a generation since those policies have done anything to improve ordinary peoples’ lives (and in the case of social conservatism, it never did).

      • Stephen

        Perhaps so. We’ll have to see what WRM posts in part 2. However, my principal point is that while introspection is fine, I’m not convinced that the electorate yearns for the resurgence of a Hamiltonian approach to thought on foreign policy in the tradition of Washington and TR – whatever that might mean.

        As noted by WRM in earlier posts, many voters held their noses while voting for GWB and congressional Republicans at the time – a gas mask would have been more useful. By the time 2006 rolled around the GOP had blown whatever credibility it claimed regarding fiscal probity in addition to whatever claims they had earned over the years in foreign policy. Congressional Republicans spent like drunken sailors thereby teeing the ball up nicely for Democratic congresses whose spending habits would embarrass drunken sailors.

        Right now, a GOP freshly out of AA and claiming to be clean and sober might justifiably be greeted with mild skepticism; particularly by those who, in the past, held their noses while pulling the lever.

      • What domestic failures? Bush’s only real major domestic failures consisted of giving in to Democrats controlling both houses of Congress during the latter part of his Presidency too easily. That and not ramming through an immigration reform bill. Though whatever Republicans can get passed on that last one will end up being watered down and/or ignored by the next Democrat administration anyway.

        It hasn’t been “a generation” since those policies did anything to improve the lives of ordinary Americans. It’s been 10 years. Or do you not remember the longest economic growth period in 30 years happening from 2003 through 2006? Or the second longest period of high employment (the longest was during the beginning of the dotcom era) from 2003 through 2007?

  • Jim Luebke

    Well, the GOP has had to deal with two problems at least as serious as Bush’s policies…

    One, the victory over Soviet communism put old Cold Warrior thinkers like William F. Buckley into retirement. He lasted 15 years longer than communism did; not a bad run. Bush Sr. fell into this category as well. Imagine being a hammer in a world where nails suddenly vanished. (Or twisted into Fabian screws…)

    The other big problem was that Bush seemed to value loyalty over competence. Bill Frist, pitched as a possible successor? Seriously? The GOP back bench was decimated by this approach. Politics is not about picking “safe” people to back you up, it’s about harnessing talented people to your sled.

    What can the GOP do in the short term? Well, in many ways it’s doing it. There are 30 GOP governors, as opposed to 19 Democrats. State legislatures are also tilted towards the GOP, I believe. This provides a significant pool of new talent, getting experience and training in politics.

    More thoughts, on Bush’s policies, later.

    • Lorenz Gude

      Well I remember my heart sinking when shortly after 9/11 Bush elevated Tom Ridge to be the new head of Homeland Security. What we needed wasn’t a bureaucrat waving colored flags; we needed someone like Rudi who would go in and rip those complacent bureaucrats a new one. Pour encourager les autres.

      • 5ftflirt

        That’s still not 1/10 as bad as obama.

      • Ironically, Rudy Giuliani signed his own political death warrant by using his political clout to get Bernard Kerik nominated to that very position.

  • “President Bush was, is, a decent and honorable man . . .” I wish I could believe that, but I can’t. Kitty Kelley’s biography recounts stories of his cruelty to animals when he was a kid, which is a troubling indication. My personal theory of the Iraq invasion is that Bush was blackmailed by some of his Saudi associates to go after Sadam instead of them in the wake of 9/11. I suspect they had video or other hard documentary evidence of a career-ending nature, possibly relating to homosexuality or to serious financial improprieties he committed by accepting a generous deal with Bahrain to save his tottering oil company at a time when his father was Director of the CIA.

    ush during the years his father was director of the CIAcommitted by B and he was a struggling oilman saved by the generous deal with Bahrain. I can’t prove that of couse

    • 5ftflirt

      You’re taking the word of Kitty Kelly?

      • I believe she researched her book.

  • JC

    I could write heaps about this both pro and con but I’ll spare everyone and say that history tends to reflect quite a long time and what seemed a valid conclusion in 2008 or 2013 can be quite wrong in 2,10 or 20-200 years time.

    Two major wars like in Afghanistan and Iraq over just 12 years simply cannot be appraised this soon in terms of history.. all that can be said is Bush changed the Middle East and the world in ways that are still to play out and Obama and America (by choice) are just bit players in this game.

    Similarly the Republicans are not doomed by their recent history in foreign or domestic affairs.. elections are not won by the Opposition but lost by the incumbents.. such is the nature of democracies.

    The job of the Republicans is thus not to change but to tweak its message to the point where its a credible alternative.. history will determine how long it takes to be successful.

    JC

  • Chas

    Well said. America needs a foreign policy that is not reactive to events and devoid of leadership. America’s foreign policy must promote our long term interests. Our policy must promote stability, free trade, and accesses to energy. If the United States fails to act as the world’s leading economic and military power others are waiting to fill the vacuum.

  • Lorenz Gude

    This article pretty sums up my own journey through the Bush administration – except I can no longer say I am a Democrat. A recovering liberal for sure, and a reluctant Republican, but never a Democrat again. What I would add to the discussion is the appalling realization that after living through the good and bad of the Bush administration I am have been absolutely astonished to see the the Obama administration pursue the same liberal interventionist promotion of democracy in the Middle East as Bush did. To his credit he tried to do it differently – no boots on the ground etc. – but the trajectory of his intervention in Libya is the same as Bush’s in Iraq. Chaos and tribal civil war complete with after parties in Syria and Timbuktu. I don’t know what the answer is in foreign policy but both parties could advance its practice by ceasing to project our Western Democratic values on tribal dominate or be dominated peoples. As an Iraqi friend of a friend put it – ‘We were going to have a civil war sooner or later – we just wish we had it when we thought it was time rather than American deciding that for us.” Despite the greater scale of the Iraq war compared to Libya what I see is two successive administrations who just don’t get it that you can’t sell win-win to people who are, perhaps through no fault of their own, caught in a win-lose milieux. Why is that the legions of postmodern post colonial automatons turned out by our universities are incapable of walking a mile in the other guy’s shoes as, say, King Leopold of Belgium?

  • What BS!

    • Marty Keller

      Thanks for the thoughtful analysis.

  • I think that the suggestion that we Republicans need to perpetuate this shallow Liberal myth (that is, that the Bush administration was a catastrophic failure) and that we need to bash the former President in order to win elections is both craven and patently absurd. Republicans control 30 of the Governorships, 25 of the State Houses of Congress, and the House of Representatives (a.k.a. “The People’s House”) – the American future is a conservative one, mark my words.

    • Ethan Rosen

      I think that Americans are increasingly in favor of (fiscally) conservative ideals, but the reality still is that, even if you disagree, many Americans still see the Bush Administration as a disaster both at home and abroad. Regardless of whether you believe in this narrative, most Americans see the Bush administration ending with two disasters in the Middle East, no coherent China policy, and a terrible recession, and naturally connect
      these things to the Bush administration.

      Republican victories since then, while significant, are not going to be enough to propel them into the future, especially with a youth demographic that is both more liberal and more organized than ever before. There is a reason that Bush’s approval rating dropped below 20% (a record low for any president), and the GOP shouldn’t risk continuing it’s image as a revisionist party.

      • Jim Luebke

        “If you’re not a Liberal at 20, you have no heart.”

        Young people grow up.

        The future of this country is going to belong to the “OMG we’re” Republicans.

      • I don’t necessarily disagree with that assessment, but I would note a few things: 1) Most people are very Liberal when they are young and become gradually more conservative as they age; 2) The conservative movement is composed of 3 factions (defense hawks, social conservatives, and libertarians), so the obvious path forward immediately is to tap into the Libertarian wing to attract the young and minorities — I myself am a 20 something year old gay Republican from Portland, Or, largely comfortable with the views of Ann Coulter; 3) The Liberal ideal is antithetical to the ideals of my fellow Millenials who value above all else their individual liberties; and finally 4) Mitt Romney was 400,000 votes in 4 states away from unseating a sitting President. For all the talk of how allegedly “personally popular” Obama is, he still won the election by the smallest margin of victory of any sitting President in history (including Bush). I wouldn’t be so quick to predict any kind of new permanent Democrat voting majority.

      • Marty Keller

        Which, I believe, is Professor Mead’s point. It is not only healthy but a marker of a confident leader (or leadership group) to be willing to examine past behavior for mistakes and errors in judgment. Heck, the South Africans did it after the collapse of apartheid.

        The GOP’s understandable reluctance to take the Professor’s advice unfortunately plays into the liberal dominance of the MSM. These factors have helped push American opinion about the leftist dependency agenda in the wrong direction. The collapse of the Blue State model should have the GOP salivating to offer future-looking policy prescriptions, but the Bush legacy helps keep them paralyzed and unbelievable.

    • Gene_Frenkle

      The success of the Republican Party in 2010 was a result of running against Bush. Bush is a liberal and liberal policies simply don’t work regardless of the party implementing them.

      • Good point, Patriot 🙂

        • Gene_Frenkle

          Although to be fair they did not vilify George W. Bush, I don’t think most even mentioned his name one way or the other.

          • Well, that was my point, really. Intelligent Republicans can debate his policies without besmirching his name. Georgie was a class act – he is a good and decent man, and I am forever grateful that he kept the American homeland safe from a terrorist attack for another 7 years after 9/11 (a feat not a single person in America would have predicted on 9/12/2001).

  • Kurt Kaiser

    You surprise me, sir. This essay is just a bunch of Monday morning quarterbacking and taking the potshots you claim to wish to avoid. You take the lib line with the “botched” response to Katrina, when, short of kicking aside the incompetent governor and mayor and declaring martial law, the Federal response was about a good as could be expected. But the MSM really made hay on that one.

    It’s likely that the WMD are in Syria, their transport assisted by the Russians. The final inspection report states that that could not be ruled out. I’ve wondered why the administration didn’t pursue that to the end.

    The financial crisis was not caused by GWB. It was a combination of lib activism and institutional failure at all levels over several decades. Again, it’s a lib trope to blame Bush for that – the principal enabler was abandoning the separation of commercial and investment banking under Clinton. Better you should pen an essay on how the current administration is trying to resume these disastrous policies, despite the lessons of recent history.

    I could go on. Please stop accepting lib distortions as history.

    • looking for sanity

      Well said. The reason why we have been losing elections is just this trope of Bush bashing.

      Would also add the democrats gephard and Kerry and Clinton and Biden all voted for Iraq. Indeed the only one who was stalwart in winning Iraq with the surge was Bush.

      • Tom Fitzpatrick

        So we “won” in Iraq? I suppose we “won” in Vietnam too.

    • bmmg39

      “The financial crisis was not caused by GWB.”

      Thank you! This point needs to be made over and over again, even five years on.

      • James Bean

        As other ppl have noted, the economy will still be weighing heavily during 2014 elections and despite it not being Bush’s fault, the GOP must run against pretty much all fiscal policies from 98-2008.

        Even logical arguments for fracking and Keystone will be difficult to make since the public has been whipped in to green hysterics.

        • Quek

          The left has somehow set this up nicely. They should run against the failed economic policies from 2009-2014 plus the incredibly destructive Affordable Health Care Act, but they have gotten side lined.

      • fyouell

        “The financial crisis was not caused by GWB.”

        No it wasn’t solely caused by GWB. However, GWB took everyone of Clinton’s bad ideas (financial deregulation, mandated high risk minority lending, bubbles, financial speculation, etc.) and put them on steroids. The consequences were catastrophic. The bad policies may have started with Billy. However, Bush put the petal to the metal and took America over a cliff.

        The deeper question is why? Part of it was just Republican anti-government ideology. However, there were other darker influences as well. Bush wanted to “buy” minority (read Latino) votes with “ownership society” fantasies rather than higher wages (which would cost his friends in the plutocracy real money).

        Beyond that, Bush’s free trade (read outsourcing) mania guaranteed economic weakness at home (that’s what happens when you move all the factories to China). Bubbles were mandatory to offset the economic malaise inherent in his trade manias.

        It all ended in ruin. Bush was no innocent.

    • Gene_Frenkle

      The Katrina response was “botched” by the Bush administration. Once the levees failed the federal government was the ONLY party with the resources to respond to the crisis. The governor and mayor were clearly incompetent, but due to the severity of the event their actions were not as important as those of the federal government.

      That said, the party that bears most responsibility is the Louisiana Congessional delegation, which included some of the most powerful Democrats and Republicans in Congress. The levees are the responsibility of the federal government, and powergul people like Senator Breaux and Congressman Livingston were supposed to oversee the system.

      • Kurt Kaiser

        The President isn’t king, and the Federal government can’t take over without a request from the State governor. You may recall Bush and Gov Blanco meeting for an hour on Air Force 1. Blanco refused to allow the Fed to take over, in spite of Bush’s pleas. Most of the delay was directly caused by Blanco. For example, she refused to sign a waiver allowing any licensed driver to operate an evacuation bus.

        Meanwhile, the Coast Guard was doing a fantastic job.

        There were FEMA failures: failure to supply the Superdome with food and portapotties, and failure to recognize that the convention center was being used as an impromptu shelter.

        NOLA levees are only designed for cat 4, so, sooner or later, they will be overtopped again. Corruption in the city and parish governments caused the Army Corps of Engineers to divert funds to other NOLA uses, rather than spending them on levee work.

        • Gene_Frenkle

          I don’t want to come across like I am defending the local officials, but I know what you are talking about and you are confusing things. Some of the levees are huge mounds of dirt so they are essentially used as parks, so the local officials had control of the park aspects of the levees.

          The levees were breached…had the levees just been overtopped like the vast majority believed would happen then local officials might have been able to handle the situation. For example, Mississippi had more people die from Katrina than any other storm in recent history in the state, so like Louisiana they get a falling grade for evacuation and preparation. The local officials did do a good job with the aftermath, but they didn’t have a major metropolitan area under water, so there is simply no comparison.

          Once again, Louisiana had some of the most powerful FEDERAL politicians in our nation. Cokie Roberts’ mother and father were powerful politicians from New Orleans, so her brother became the most powerful lobbyist in DC. People like Cokie and Tommy Boggs failed New Orleans over decades because they are greedy and New Orlreans residents allowed it to happen.

          • Kurt Kaiser

            I don’t think there is actually much argument between us. I will add that, once some of the levees were overtopped, the water eroded the backsides until the walls collapsed. There was also some failure of the berm type due to simple erosion. Also, MS suffered a much stronger hit than NOLA’s weak cat 3, but the leadership was much better. Thanks!

          • Gene_Frenkle

            More people died in MS during Katrina than died during Camille in 1969…I consider that a failure of leadership. Also, the category system does not adequately describe Katrina, the storm surge size is a better reference. One last thing, St. Bernard Parish was devastated and it has nothing to do with New Orleans.

          • You’re missing the fundamental point in regards to LA, particularly the New Orleans area and other southern areas of LA during Katrina. FEMA, and the WH, were BEGGING Blanco to evacuate before the storm hit. Blanco refused. Even when President Bush advised her to call up the Guard during that meeting on AF1, she refused. Several officials who attended the meetings said Nagin was crying he was so upset at her refusal to act.

            Blanco was the ONLY person who could call out the NG or authorize the Federal Government to bring the Army in to help. She repeatedly refused.

          • Gene_Frenkle

            You do not understand the difference between a levee breach and a levee being overtopped. Most people believed the levees would be overtopped, very few people thought the levees would be breached. If any president believed the levees were going to be breached they would have had the full federal force ready with motors running to go in to New Orleans. I am not sure why you are not including MS when discussing the failure to evacuate before the storm hit, they had more people die than during Camille…why did everybody not evacuate from the coast? Evacuations are difficult and the category system did not really properly convey the power of the impending storm surge.

            Once again, powerful federal politicians like Breaux and Tauzin deserve most of the blame for the levees being breached, Bush deserves some of the blame for the “botched” response because once the levees breached the federal government was the only party capable of responding and most reports indicate Blanco and Nagin were seeking help from the Feds.

  • 5ftflirt

    I am really tired of this conservative handwringing. The GOP needs to fight the Democratic smears of Bush, not agree with them.

    We got half the country’s votes in 2012, and if Romney had actually full-throatedly advocated conservative principles, and had a better ground game, he would have won.

    • bmmg39

      I agree. People need to start defending George W. Bush, and the first person who needs to do so is George W. Bush.

      • I disagree. Bush is right to stay out of it. Nothing he says is going to change the minds of the Bush-haters, and yammering will only make people think of Bill Clinton’s pathetic attempts to whitewash his tarnished legacy. Clinton gets away with it now, because, well, Americans are largely stupid sheep. However, history will be very, very unkind to #42 and his personal and professional foibles.

  • Well Mr. Mead, I see from some of the comments that the base is still operating on the programing Rush, Hannity and Fox spent years loading into them. Mis-education has its cost.

    I agree with everything you say, including the fact that President Bush was and is an honorable man.

    • bmmg39

      In spite of the fact that Bush’s supporters are providing facts, you accuse them of having been victimized by “mis-education.” Interesting.

  • Andrew Allison

    With respect, I don’t think that foreign policy is very high on the list of voter concerns. The sad truth is that the GOP establishment is completely out of touch with it’s constituency. It failed to connect with every single ethnic and demographic group except “old white men” in last year’s election, in which over six million less white voters bothered to go to the polls than in 2008.

    • Tina Ferrer

      Nailed it Andrew and if the Pug establishment offers up another wimp, then even more will stay home next go around. If the Republicans don’t tack right, the party will not be a party any longer and that you can take to the bank Mr. Priebus.

  • ClaudeinSocal

    We went to Iraq Pt. 2 Because George W. Bush told us they had WMD’S. Or is everyone rewriting history here? George W. Bush’s speech for going to Iraq was to get WMD’S. & their where none! ! & then the story became they moved them to Syria before Iraq 2 started. If George W. Bush was so smart, why didn’t he send in a chopper & troops to stop the transfer of those WMD’S then?? Because he lied. Just like his stupid father George H.W. Bush for Iraq 1. Those pictures that where doctored with Iraqi troops on the Kuwaiti border where fakes & frauds, like stupid father, stupid son. Lie to go to war & then move goal posts. The Bush family legacy is liars & war criminals! !

    • Marty Keller

      Thanks for the misspelled, mispunctuated cogent analysis. I’m sure you’ve made a lot of converts to your theory.

      • ClaudeinSocal

        So Marty: Where are the WMD’S then???

        • bmmg39

          Claude, were John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and Tony Blair (et al) also “lying”?

          • ClaudeinSocal

            Who gave them the info??

          • bmmg39

            Apparently not GWB, since people were saying these things since President Clinton’s second term.

          • The same people that gave it to Bush. The State Department, The British Ambassador, and the head of the CIA, as well as the head of MI-6 who briefed the US Congress personally (possibly for the first time in history). I’m not sure if they briefed the Congress, but the Saudis were also adamant that he had chemical weapons and an active bio-weapon’s program.

            Bill Clinton also stated on multiple occasions after the 2nd Iraq War that he was certain Iraq had chemical weapons and that they weren’t certain they destroyed them in 1998 when we bombed Hussein’s illegal labs hidden in the desert. You know, those labs that the mere existence of violated the terms of the cease-fire agreement which ended the 1991 Gulf War. Along with many other violations of that agreement. Which Democrats and the lying-libber media conveniently forgot as soon as possible.

            After 1998, when Hussein attacked planes patrolling the no-fly zone, NATO was legally allowed to declare the cease-fire to null and void. We could have simply done that and commenced the invasion of Iraq. Of course the libbers would have squealed here in the US regardless of the reason for going to war.

  • Tina Ferrer

    I was a supporter of this man. Keep in mind we were attacked on his watch and he did keep us safe however his last two years were a disaster. He never attempted to defend himself his last 2 years hence the left created the right wing boogeyman without one molecular whiff of defense from the Bush Whitehouse, hence the party, which created Obama. This attitude coupled with TARP is the reason I’m now an independent as the Republicans are still on their hands and knees being bicycle racks for the Senate. Don’t get me started on Bush, Rove, Kristol, McCain, Graham, et al., as this establishment’s time has come and gone in my life. Bush chose not to defend himself his final 2 years hence, those that supported him and now we have this. Look, if Bush was so good why are the Progs still successful in using him as voter kryptonite?

    • bmmg39

      Partially because of defeatist commentaries such as this one, and the shameful reluctance of people like us to defend him.

    • Kavanna

      Tina, I don’t think the Iraq war is such kryptonite any more. Even in 2008, it took a back seat to the recession and financial crisis. Even now, the dystopian America that has emerged since late 2007, with its Potemkin financial markets and phony economic statistics masking the grim reality, still hasn’t sunk into the voters minds. To the extent that they see it at all, many think it’s somehow the Republicans’ fault and that Obama will save them.

      But it’s largely Clinton, Greenspan, and Congress’ fault, in reality. Obama is making it all worse.

  • Jim Luebke

    Has everyone else forgotten that Bush’s big second-term domestic policy push was to try to reform Social Security into something more sustainable (i.e., a stock-based defined-contribution plan)? Perhaps the idea was just before its time, but speaking as someone from a generation that doesn’t expect Social Security to exist at all when it comes time for my cohort to retire, it would have been a good idea.

    Was his attempt to reform Social Security, then, a “domestic policy failure”? It seems to me that VM is looking for ways to develop, as far as possible, a sustainable revision to the current Blue Model. Shouldn’t VM be thanking Bush for his out-of-the-box thinking?

    The pessimist in me says that Bush’s experience (and Obama’s electoral success) are signs that Americans really aren’t ready or willing to face reality — the Blue Model is broken. It is unaffordable. We have to change it dramatically to salvage any portion of it. Unless we can come up with extremely creative ways to economize — and these are not guaranteed — there will be unexpected pain as our welfare state shrinks.

    It was Bush’s 2nd term when the MSM turned against him — they gave him a free pass in his first, at least to hear them tell it. Could it be more than coincidence that they turned against him only after he started to attack Blue?

    • Gene_Frenkle

      Mitt Romney ridiculed Bush’s Social Security privatization plan–read Paul O’Neill’s book, the time to do that was when we were running a surplus. That said, SS is not a problem–Medicare and Obamacare are the problem, and Republicans failure to discuss our broken healthcare system allowed Democrats to dominate the issue, just as Democrats discussing the broken economy in 2007 allowed them to dominate that issue. We have been in a jobs crisis since 2000 and Obama has simply double downed on the Bush economic policies.

      • Marty Keller

        To say that “SS is not a problem” is to presume a linear extension of fiscal history, so that the current projections of income and outgo will come true. To believe that uncritically may be comforting but given the transformation the world political economy is experiencing I’m unwilling to make such claims. Both parties have their eyes firmly fixed on the rear-view mirror.

        • Gene_Frenkle

          How about–SS is not the biggest problem. The point Romney was making is that privatizing even a part of SS will add to deficits, because SS is a pay as you go program. So Bush’s plan would have added over a trillion dollars to the deficit. Medicare and Obamacare are clearly the biggest problems. Obamacare is easy to solve–just repeal it. Medicare is much more difficult.

          • Kavanna

            Social Security is definitely a problem — even the CBO admits this. It’s just not a big problem and could be easily solved with a mix of raising retirement ages and means testing. A real savings program would be much better, of course. But our financial system and markets are so screwed up now (largely thanks to the Fed and other central banks) that no honest person could recommend such a solution in any major developed country under present conditions.

            The real problem, with no doubt, is health care and its entitlements, as well as subsidized private health insurance. It’s a disaster and getting worse every year.

  • I beg to differ. Iraq was, indeed, a political disaster for Bush and the GOP but because the scores of Democrats in Congress and Democratic pundits and leaders across the country turned on the war and Bush the instant the invasion ran into trouble — which I would date from the days after US troops flooded into Baghdad when the stories about unleashed criminality began (looting the antiquities museum, stealing the electric copper wires, etc.). The serious insurgency was still a year away at that point, but the Democrats began to turn. Bush’s mistake was to believe that they would not so easily turn. He ought to have known better. The first canary in the coal mine was the RW Apple front page story in the New York Times in October 2001 (!)– in which Apple mused raised the specter that the lightning, CIA-led campaign in Afghanistan was somehow already falling into a “quagmire.” The truth was that al Qaeda and the Taliban were to be routed and run out of the country by the beginning of 2002 but the anti-war mentality began to show itself even then.

    Liberal Democrats hated W passionately before he caused a single shot to be fired anywhere — in large part because of what they deemed his “selection” as President in a supposedly incomplete Florida vote count (the kind of sore loser hatred that Jacksonians felt toward Quincy Adams in 1824), and because of the increasingly bitter partisanship of the second Clinton term. Most Democratic Senators supported both wars because they thought they had no choice for political reasons, lest Bush wrap up Saddam and his WMD in a few weeks and look the hero to their cowardice. As soon as they saw he might be in trouble — and with the 2004 campaign coming up — they pounced.

    It was all about politics. It’s disappointing that WRM doesn’t see that.

    • Gene_Frenkle

      Great comment, I am a Democrat that voted for Romney in large part because of the awful behavior of the Democrats during the Bush administration. People still falsely accuse the administration of torture even though the memos released in 2009 prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that torture did not take place.

      I think Bush was a liberal that but for the recount would have won in a huge landslide in 2004. I also see Obama as a continuation of most of Bush’s policies…which is consistent with Bush being a liberal.

      • Kavanna

        An honorable and honest man you are, Mr. Frenkle.

        BTW, the looting of the Iraq Museum was not a spontaneous act of popular criminality. The mobs only reached the lobby of the Museum before they were stopped. Almost all the thefts were an inside job, done by someone(s) with special access to the safes and vaults, and completed before the mobs even broke in. See Matthew Bogdanos’ Thieves of Baghdad and his incontrovertible and never-disputed evidence of this.

    • I’ll go a step further and say that, if Al Gore had been President on 9/11/01, the post-9/11 trajectory of American policy would not have been much different. We know from various insider accounts that Gore was the anti-terror hawk in the Clinton White House (which is consistent with his history, such as when he was one of only three Senate Democrats to vote to authorize the first Gulf War against Saddam). Gore’s activities after 2000 may make this seem unlikely, but it’s not if you understand politicians. Of course, a Democratic President presiding over our “endless war” would have been able to keep most of his party in line, bring the media along with him, and benefit by generally strong support from the opposition party. A Republican President had none of these advantages.

      • Wait! You mean to say that MORE Democrats voted for the “illegal” war of Bush 43 than they did when they voted to invade Iraq under Bush 41? You mean the invasion of a sovereign state (and ally) of the USA didn’t garner support of the Democrats in the Senate? Why would you possibly make that claim? There’s a reason no one ever talks about that, you know. You aren’t allowed to speak the ugly truth about Democrats being opportunists and supporting dictators. Al Gore is the protector of the planet from the evil United States. Didn’t you know that? What kind of traitor are you, anyway? Off to the gulag with you, Comrade. You must be reeducated.

        • And for the lefty/nutjob who comes along, I’m well aware that gulags and reeducation centers in the Soviet Union were almost never located in the same establishment.

        • Right, and a powerful reason for the strong support of Senate Dems for the 2003 war (Kerry, Edwards and Clinton among others) was that they all looked like fools or wusses after Bush 41’s rapid, low casualty victory with historically wide Arab support (Saudis, Gulf States, Jordan, Egypt, even Syria!).

  • I never expected to see so many Bush apologists commenting on a blog that bends over backwards to be centrist. Is there no one a little left of center — as in, moderate liberal — who reads Mead besides me? What a shame.

    • Anthony

      An observation: you are correct WRM generally posts in the center. However, human sentiment being what it is may interpret non partisan essay oppositionally (despite objectivity) if percieved not to harmonized with predilection. Remember, you are prone to make distinctions, compare, etc. no matter what your leanings – not all my friend.

    • James Bean

      Luke, I enjoyed your comments back during the old WRM days, don’t be too discouraged.

      What you’re seeing is the natural response to 13 years of unrelenting Bush bashing that continues to this day.

      Even his paintings are getting critiqued! At a certain point the good the man did (AIDS work in Africa, attempt at education reform, the surge) need to be defended.

  • foreign police

    How does

    “I did not (and do not) think that containing Saddam Hussein was a viable option in the long run”

    rhyme with

    “a war you should never have started”?

    The decision to go in should be separated from the subsequent difficulties. And perhaps this goes to the heart of saving the Republican party from the Bush/Iraq War syndrome.

  • Jim Luebke

    Looks like we have more Jacksonians than Hamiltonians here, which is odd considering how foreign-policy-oriented this blog is.

    I can certainly sympathize with the Jacksonian point of view. I don’t really want to be involved with the Laos’ old grudges against the Thais for conquering the fertile rice-producing plains in the southeast of their country. There’s no reason we should be.

    Hamiltonians even benefit from that point of view — the rest of the world was less inclined to be suspicious of us in past centuries, when we made a point of minding our own business. There are even fiscal benefits to cutting back our military footprint — though in the age of national budgets dominated by social spending (by a factor of three to ten) “military overreach” is pretty much dead as a way that great powers fall. “Blue Model overreach” of hemorrhaging domestic spending will take more players off the board than military spending will.

    That said, how would a future GOP foreign policy look different than the Democrats’ foreign policy?

    – Leaner and more effective domestic spending, and maintaining an arms-length relationship with Eurosocialism.

    – Further recognition that America is doing something right, socially and intellectually, that Europe isn’t. They have more to learn from us
    than we do from them, though we obviously shouldn’t ignore everything anyone else comes up with.

    If they want a say, they need to provide more funding for military support.

    – More muscular military. No more “We don’t have the money to sent another carrier to the Persian Gulf”. No more “four carriers sitting in Norfolk because there’s no money for them to be deployed.”

    We’ve got it, and we can use it a little smarter — to get trade concessions, as well as just maintaining the system we’re still in the best position to benefit from.

    – Advancing our focus on brushfire and rogue state containment, with old technologies like aircraft carriers, and new ones like missile defense, and whatever new cyber warfare techniques come along.

    – Maintaining our supremacy in nuclear arms to deter any great power wars.

    – Recognizing that China’s (and India’s) rise will be peaceful as long as we can convince them that anyone who risks war (with us) is suicidally insane. If we weaken, that stops being true.

  • Kavanna

    I think WRM was trying to make it clear why many, not Republicans, were sympathetic to the Iraq war before it started, in terms of some of the motives. At the same, he’s also made it clear that Bush Jr. made a major mess of the issue and never made it convincing why the issue required that war at that time fought in that way. It was a costly diversion from, not only al Qa’eda, but the really important unfinished business of Iran.

    WRM’s implicit point is that the Republicans are in deeper trouble than they realize with foreign policy, once one of their strongest advantages. Hamiltonianism dominated the Republican establishment’s foreign policy thinking from TR through the end of the Cold War, in competition only with the isolationists, who were discredited by the 1950s. But that strand of thinking has faded rapidly from the scene in the last decade or so. Bush Jr. gave us an incoherent mishmash of isolationism, Jacksonianism, and messianic liberal crusading, and proved less than competent at all three.

    The so-called “realists” (Baker, Hagel) the Republicans might claim these days are a joke. They use the term “realist” in a pathetic attempt to gain some historical cachet. In fact, they represent little more than influence peddling paid for with petrodollars. Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 was the first of a series of fatal blows that destroyed the credibility of this faction, which has been finally buried by the Arab spring and subsequent revolutions. Their supposed special insight and access make up a myth now in tatters. Curiously, Hagel ended up as defense secretary, in spite of few qualifications — but that’s something he shares with his boss.

    Classical realism of the Kissinger-Bismarck-Disraeli type was once a respectable and important tendency having nothing to do with petrodollars. But the world wars and the age of ideology killed it. While basic realist rules of thumb will always be relevant, the subsequent rise of globalization and mutual interpenetration of economies and societies have turned this venerable school of policy largely into an historical relic.

    So the Republicans have little left in the way of foreign policy choices. The angry Tea Party tendency is an important and understandable trend among voters, given the recklessness of our political class. But it has produced and probably will produce no serious national leaders or coherent policy direction.

  • James Bean

    Professor, you touch on the impact the media has had on the Bush legacy, but without sounding too paranoid, I don’t believe you grasp the extent to which the conversation has been moved left.

    Anti-fracking, minimum wage increases, and the mandate of employer provided health care are all policies that have gained significant acceptance but SHOULD be soundly refuted.

    However, the GOP seems to lack anyone approaching the eloquence of a young Thomas Sowell or the pedigree of a McCain capable of doing so.

    Without such leaders, the media will continue its distorted narrative without any reasonable voice of opposition.

  • Dan

    When discussing Bush, the Iraq War while not the only thing, is the biggest reason and sums up what is wrong with the GOP and why it is held in such disdain. Bush did not fight the war for noble reasons. To this day we do not know why Bush invaded Iraq. Some like to blame “HUBORIS” which is in this context means STUPIDITY. But I think the real reason was greed and a willingness to sacrifice lives for that greed. In fact I suspect that when we finally see what was discussed in Cheney’s secret meetings with oil executives prior to 911, we will know for certain that the war was planned before 911 and was all about oil.

    Like most people with knowledge of Iraq, I never believed Sadam had nuclear goals or links to Al Quada. That we thought he had chemical weapons based on WW1 technology scared us not as chemical weapons are battle field weapons not that useful for terrorism and in fact obsolete on the battlefield since before WW2.

    Bush did not fight the war for noble reasons nor in the end did he fight it to win, but rather to not lose until he left allowing his cronies looted the U.S. treasury when he was in office.
    The big lie about Iraq was the cost of the war. WMD’s aside Sadam was an evil man and even those of us who always opposed the war are glad he is dead. But we opposed the war because we realized the cost to America for a successful conclusion to the Iraq war, a unified nation with a western style democracy, would require a DRAFT to have enough troops to secure the borders to keep out undesirables like terrorists and Iranian agents. It would also have required a Marshall Plan at a cost requiring tax hikes to bribe/convince the Iraqis that being allied with the U.S. was better than other choices. And a draft would even have been worse for the GOP than losing the war. In short to lose the war was a political decision made not for the good of America but for the good of the GOP.

    So never having a chance of victory, in the end the entire Bush strategy in Iraq came down to the control of oil and stealing rebuilding aid in the billions. The people and the borders and the overall long-term alignment of Iraq were left to others like Iran. Sadam who had been keeping oil prices low by undercutting benchmark pricing was gone, and so the price of oil could surge to the benefit of oil companies and the expense of the U.S. citizens who paid for the war in blood and treasure.

    This was already well known by November of 2004 but seeing Bush as their grasp on power, the GOP cynically hung together to hold power. Had the GOP done in 2004 what the Dems did in 1968, given up power by defeating a president of its own party over lies and mismanagement of a war, the GOP would be down but not out. But the GOP even after knowing the mistake and the lies continued to support Bush for power at the expense of America.

    And that is why the GOP now is hated. To admit the error would require Bush, Cheney and many other GOP officials to be hung as war criminals and the GOP dissolved. So as it hung to Bush for power, so it will refuse to admit the truth until like other monsters the life is beaten out of it.

  • rene591

    neo conservative bring bankruptcy and end of the republic near you. Chicken hawks-r-us the definition of a neo conservative. neo conservative whats it good for-nothing

  • rene591

    neo conservative another defunct philosophy headed for the dustbin of history like communism and fascism. neo conservatives bringing death and destruction worldwide for generations and sending the bill to the american people annually. vaya con dios

  • INTJ

    At least part of this is somewhat disingenuous. President Bush actually did explain our initial war aims in Afghanistan, in a national speech: “to disrupt the use of Afghanistan as a terrorist base of operations, and to attack the military capability of the Taliban regime.” He added that we would help and protect the Afghan people at the same time.
    It is silly to complain that he did not elaborate further as the situation evolved, since his successor has not done so in 5 years, either.

  • thesafesurfer

    This isn’t the first time Mr. Mead has shown questionable judgement and an argument based on a faulty premise. No doubt it won’t be the last.

  • rene591

    neo conservatives the worst of all worlds. bringing the stupid to the republican party. bankrupting this country for years and threatening our republic with unnecessary wars and unnecessary defense spending. should just quickly leave state right and do the nation a favor

    • Total cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars including increased benefits and pay and all medical care for veterans, according to a Harvard study is between $4 and $6 trillion. This figure, however, includes expected interest. The total direct cost of the wars was just under 1 trillion dollars. When direct aid to Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan are included, they go up to about 1.4 trillion. Or the amount Obama has had in deficit spending each year for most of his term in office. The direct cost of both wars is about what the Obama budget expects to cut in Medicare to pay for Obamacare over 10 years.

      Then one must factor in that Af-Pak was ALWAYS going to happen after September 11th, 2001. There are no real breakdowns available that separate out the costs of each war, either from the Bush administration or the Obama administration, however.

  • Common_Sense_Post

    Bush’s fault!

    I was afraid you would let that go after only 5 years! Thanks for giving another chuckle! Well done sir!

  • Nearsited

    Bush’s biggest blunder: Under-estimating the power of the news media and academia to re-shape perceptions of events for the purpose of destroying opponents and protecting friends.
    Exhibit A: Hurricane Katrina (Bush’s blunder) vs Sandy (Not O’s fault).

  • Quek

    The thing that bothers me is that we can win if we get out of our own way. We trounce the opposition then we change the rules of engagement until we can’t win because of liberal hand wringing. Wars are tough enough without making the rules that our soldiers follow help the enemy as we have. This goes back to Korea and Vietnam. The idea that the enemy could cross the Cambodia border and we would stop at the border was absurd. We should have never agreed to that, we should have followed our enemy all the way home. You simply can’t win by allowing your enemy to regroup. So if we aren’t there to crush our enemy, and that is what an army does, we shouldn’t be there.

  • Good God. After five years these libs and their continual whining about Bush…y’all are starting to remind me of my ex-wife.

  • Will part two compare the economic numbers of the Bush administration with the current one? Oh, please. Let’s do before another Summer of Recovery overtakes this dynamo of prosperity.

    • ManhattanMC

      Apparently I’ve been blocked on the OP. Your doing?

      http://tfninsider.org/2009/10/29/rehabilitating-joseph-mccarthy/

      “… The new information from Russian and American archives does not
      vindicate McCarthy. He remains a demagogue, whose wild charges actually
      made the fight against Communist subversion more difficult….”

      Harvey Klehr

      “…Among the most knowledgable experts on the Venona project is Harvey Klehr, a professor of politics and history at Emory University. Prof. Klehr traveled in 1992 to the former Soviet Union, where he got access to
      Soviet spy archives. He also studied the Venona cables after the U.S.
      government declassified them in the 1990s. With John Earl Haynes, Prof. Klehr co-authored Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America, published in 1999 by Yale University.”

      He knows what he’s talking about-unlike that utter fraud David Barton and Glen ‘the rodeo clown’ Beck.
      Nothing in the Venona info vindicates McCarthy.

      And can you imagine how well we would be doing without repug congressional obstruction?

  • Tom Fitzpatrick

    There was absolutely nothing “decent and honorable” about the Bush administration. Until the Republicans are willing to face that reality they should never be trusted again. I don’t think one party running things is good for America but until Republicans admit Iraq was wrong, lying about our reasons for going there was wrong, torture was wrong, they don’t “hate us for our freedom,” it is much more complicated than that, they have not learned a thing and should never be trusted. This is a nation where church and state are seperate. Republicans still want to appeal to our base instincts and fears. They are the anti-science party. They are the party of intolerance to gays. I say these things as a former Republican who voted for Ronald Reagan twice but the party today is a disgrace and G. W. Bush was the worst president in my lifetime. The demographics show all the things I percieve wrong with the Republican party today are shared by younger voters. Better come clean about the past if you want trust back for the future. Oh yeah, Sarah Palin is unqualified for anything. Better get that straight too. Good luck!

  • Mead needs to focus when writing. The thrust on this article was correct – the GOP and America needs an analysis of the Bush years and why it went very badly wrong. But now and again he side-tracked to the Democratics and specifically Obama (mentioning for example continuing to attack his approach to Bengazi, among other things). The side-tracking – most of it fluff – took away from the over-arching need to concentrate on the Bush years (when Obama was not really on the World stage – except for his 2004 speech at the Dems Convention). Note, not one mention of the VP Cheney who was the real President during the Bush years – at least the first 7 years. Really odd!!

  • engine search the Iraqi Liberation Act of 1998 to find where the WMD meme became tied to foreign policy…Clinton, Biden and Kerry have yet to be called on this ramping-up of the Afro-Arabian occupation.

  • Paul J. Delmont

    The other side of the outsourcing of democracy failing is the insourcing of mass immigration, with the naive idea that anybody who shows up can become a suburbanite overnight, supporting the two-party system – when, in fact, the newcomers are overwhelmingly one-party oriented and about half dependent on government support. Just as you can’t turn Iraq into Indiana, you can’t turn millions from Nicaragua,. Mexico, Guatemala into Republican-voting, self-supporting Republicans.

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